Some call it the Dreamwish Beast. Others call it the Starduster. Some don’t believe it exists at all, others worship it, a handful will pay any price to kill it and display its remains.
But it remains for one man, Nicobar Lane, the most accomplished hunter of the galactic era, to find out what it really is, to match wits and willpower and skills against something that is both too alien and too familiar.
Join this Ahab as he reluctantly pursues the secrets buried inside him. Join this interstellar Moby Dick as he tempts and tortures his pursuer. Join Mike Resnick as he spins a yarn of galactic adventure and, to quote Analog, “… Well before the end, you will know yourself deep in the clutches of … art.”
It is a few thousand years in the future, and Man has spread throughout the galaxy. Nicobar Lane is a hunter, one of the best, who brings back alien specimens for museums. One commission he always refuses is to hunt down the Dreamwish Beast, since no one alive has seen one and the assumption is that it’s a myth—until he encounters it in deep space.
Now that he knows it exists, Lane becomes obsessed with killing it, much as Ahab was obsessed with killing the white whale … but the whale was an unthinking beast, while this one can establish contact with Lane long enough to ask what it’s done to make Lane want to kill it.
Lane has, of necessity, kept his emotions under check, since his job is killing things, and he resents the fact that the creature is making him feel. He steps up his efforts to hunt it down. They indulge in a galaxy-wide chase that takes them beyond all boundaries to a new and unknown universe … and as they realize they are the only two living, thinking, feeling entities in this universe, they make their peace and form a lasting emotional bond.